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May 16, 2018

GOOD QUESTION: Trump’s Instincts on Afghanistan Are Right, So What Happened?

Last month marked the 40th anniversary of the 1978 coup that violently brought communist rulers into power in Kabul. Two years later the Soviet Union invaded. Ten years later, they withdrew, laying the foundation for the Mujahideen Civil War that led to the rise of the Taliban in 1996 and their war against the Northern Alliance. This war was still raging on 9/11 when the U.S. military entered the scene. The fundamental causes of these various civil wars still remain today. After 40 years of fighting, the Taliban’s fight against Kabul is not going to simply end due to U.S. intervention.

The sooner Trump translates his instincts on ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan into policy, the better for America. A withdrawal will improve American national security and strengthen economic prosperity. Extricating U.S. troops from Afghanistan will not be easy, however, because there are many in Washington — senior military leaders among them — who want to defend the status quo at any cost. There is no benefit to the United States in trying to fight yesterday’s failed battles but trying to do it “better.” The strategy has failed, not the tactics.

There’s no light at the end of this tunnel.